“In the pearl of the Adriatic blue and deep, two small islets to each other speak. From the first sun ray til the break of night, day by day they lead a fight. Who is more precious, who is more smart, who will capture more people’s hearts. Will it be the child of nature or sunken ships rising from the sea, to enjoy the sight of both come with me”
Lady of the rocks (Montenegrin: Gospa od Škrpjela) is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in Bay of Kotor, Montenegro (the other being Sveti Đorđe Island). It is an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. The Roman Catholic Church of Lady of the Rocks (Italian: Chiesa della Madonna dello Scarpello) is the largest building on the islet; it has a museum attached. There is also a small gift shop close to the church and navigation light at the western end of the islet.
The Lady of the rocks is located just outside Perast, in the middle of the Kotor bay, surrounded with mountains, the cristal clear ocean and perfectly clean nature. Visitors can only reach the Lady of the rocks via boat, and once you see this marvelous wonder you will always gladly return again.
History of Lady of the rocks
According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by the seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea on the 22. July 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea.The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event called fašinada, when local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island, takes place.
The first known church was built on the islet in 1452 and it was Serbian Orthodox. It was taken over by Roman Catholics and in 1632 the present Church of Our Lady of the Rocks was built. It was upgraded in 1722. The church contains 68 paintings by Tripo Kokolja, a famous 17th-century baroque artist from Perast. His most important painting, ten meters long, is The Death of the Virgin. There are also paintings by Italian artists, and an icon (circa 1452) of Our Lady of the Rocks, by Lovro Dobričević of Kotor. The church also houses a collection of silver votive tablets and a famous votive tapestry embroidered by Jacinta Kunić-Mijović from Perast. It took her 25 years to finish it. For visitors from all over the world the Lady of the rocks is one of the most interesting and special attractions in Montenegro.